See all the little flames? That's where I live. And see this?
I live in that red area. The evacuation area. That is to say, I live there with my husband, two kids, two large dogs, a tortoise, a snake, and a gecko. We are all packed and ready to go, but since none of the fires seem to be very near us, the evacuation centers keep evacuating, and there is still an open route out of here, we are sitting tight for the time being.
This is what we call "fire season" in Southern California. Every year in October, we start getting antsy about fire. Summers here are dry. No rain at all. And in the past couple of years, we've had only 3 inches of rain the entire year, which is even less than our usual 9 inches per year. After the long, dry summer, all the vegetation is as dry as tinder. And then in October, the Santa Ana winds kick in. These are high, hot, dry winds blowing off the desert from east to west, the opposite of our usual on-shore flow. The high winds tend to blow down power lines, which spark fires, which are whipped into an inferno and spread quickly by the hot, dry winds.
Four years ago, we had huge fire storms, this same week in October. The whole city was choked under a blanket of dark smoke, the schools were closed, and we were all trapped inside for a week. Whole neighborhoods burned down, and the mountains outside San Diego were just devastated. My best friend, who is a fire chief in the mountains, lost her home, and nearly her life, fighting the fires. Many homes still have not been rebuilt.
This time around is reportedly even worse. There are more fires. The winds are higher. The vegetation is drier. And none of the air tankers can take off because of the winds. There is no containment of any of the fires, and several neighborhoods near us are burning. When we went to bed last night, the largest of the fires was more than thirty miles away. Now it is less than five, and moving quickly. Over 100,000 acres have burned and 250,000 have been evacuated.
If anyone has a direct line to the powers that be, could you put in a good word for San Diego, please?